Cockapoos are crossbreeds and is it known that there are genetic disorders in their gene pool. These will not be apparent in puppies but can cause serious illness in the adult dogs. If you are intending to welcome a cockerpoo into your family, it is important to choose a puppy which has been tested for these conditions. The Cockapoo Club of Great Britain has made tests for some of these conditions mandatory for registered litters whilst tests for all of the conditions are advised.
This is a genetic disorder which causes the cells in the retina to degenerate and then die. Dogs with this condition will suffer issues with night vision at first and then will eventually become completely blind. The disease tends to manifest itself in adolescence and can be difficult to diagnose. There is no treatment available for this condition.
Prcd-PRA is inherited as a recessive trait which means that the gene must be inherited from both parents in order for the disease to manifest itself. A carrier as opposed to a sufferer will have one diseased gene and one normal gene. The disease could be avoided in the future if all dogs were tested before breeding.
Glaucoma is caused by pressure in the eye resulting from a build-up of fluid which is unable to drain away. The condition destroys the eye’s structures and can lead to the eye enlarging. Primary glaucoma is an inherited condition which affects several breeds of dog and often leads to complete blindness. Secondary glaucoma is brought on by other diseases of the eye. Treatment and prognosis varies between the two types of glaucoma and so it is important to ascertain which of the two a dog is suffering from.
This is a common and inherited orthopaedic condition. It basically amounts to abnormal development of the hip joint and leads to deformity and excessive wear. One or both hips may be affected and the condition is painful. The symptoms of HD are changes in gait, obvious lameness, stiffness after rest and exercise intolerance. HD occurs due to both hereditary and environmental factors including the over exercising of puppies. Breeding dogs should be radiographed to assess the condition of their hips and a database is being assembled which records the hip conditions of breeding dogs’ offspring.
As any viewers of Channel 4’s Supervet series will know, hip dysplasia can be addressed surgically but the procedure is costly and extremely invasive.
FN – Familial Nephropathy
Familial Nephropathy (FN) is a recessively inherited renal disease suffered by the English Cocker. The onset of renal failure due to FN typically occurs between six and 24 months of age in dogs. Symptoms may include increased thirst and urination, weight loss, lack of appetite, vomiting and diarrhoea. FN is suffered by dogs with a genetic defect that affects the collagen which holds the renal structure together. The condition causes a gradual and progressive degeneration of the renal function and so an affected dog may not appear ill until the latter stages of the disease.
This is an enzyme which is crucial for production of energy from sugar sources in all cells of the body. The lack of this enzyme causes a range of issues including weakness and muscle cramps, discoloured urine, anemia and jaundice. In American Cocker Spaniels, this disease is inherited as an autosomal recessive condition.
The majority of canine cases of retinal dysplasia are hereditary. The condition can affect one or both retinas and can be focal, multifocal, geographic, or accompanied by retinal detachment. Cataracts or glaucoma are secondary conditions associated with Retinal Dysplasia and the condition is suffered by American cocker spaniels. In its mild form, it causes no symptoms. Dogs with a more severe case of the condition may avoid dark areas and can bump into things due to their impaired vision.
Von Willebrand disease Type 1 (vWD 1)
This is a common bleeding disorder caused by a lack of von Willebrand factor which is a protein that affects the blood clotting process. The disease can range in severity and results in issues from trivial bleeds to life-threatening haemorages. Symptoms include spontaneous bleeding from the nose, gum and other mucous membranes together with excessive bleeding after an injury. Bleeding may also occur internally. It is a condition which is suffered by poodles.
As you can now see, health testing is an important aspect of cockapoo breeding and it is crucial that you choose a puppy from a registered breeder who tests their dogs.